Life 101–Revisited

20 08 2008

I’m not a casual blogger.  I just won’t write unless my learning experiences might possibly help someone else.  Well, life has been very full lately with both positive and negative experiences.  My top positive is that our Orthodox mission church is really developing smoothly.  We just finished our third Sunday in the original chapel of Grace Lutheran Church in Clarksville, Tennessee.  The Lutheran pastor is so kind to us.  He has stopped by a couple of times during our coffee hour and chatted.  This past week, he stopped in while we were having a parish meeting.  We all got a laugh when he told us that he is starting to use incense more and that his ushers ask folks if they want the smoking or non smoking side.  He was serious–his ushers really do ask that question. 

Three days a week an add is run in the Clarksville newspaper.  We have gotten two families to come our way so far because of the ads.  Both families are Orthodox and have had to drive to Nashville for services.  They never knew there was a community of Orthodox  Christians at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  We are so happy to have new faces and we know our parish will continue to grow.  Jim is Fr. Peter’s alter boy.  I used to think there was not a whole lot  of work to that job until Jim started learning how to assist Fr. Peter.  Fr. Peter gave him three single spaced pages of instructions a couple of months ago.  There is certainly more than meets the eye with assisting a priest.

Fr. Peter appointed me as one of the officers of our parish.  I’m the recording secretary.(Later on, when our incorporation has been completed, the congregation will vote on officers.)  We have a parish meeting after coffee hour once a month. I’ve never been a secretary of any organization but I’m loving every minute of this job.   Jim and I get to church very early.  Jim gets started on his duties.  I help set up coffee hour.  We have a table in the hallway with one outlet.  I get the coffee started and put out all of the things that we need to make our coffee hour smooth.  I usually prepare something to eat.  Others come in with food.  By the time it is time for our service to begin–we have enough food for coffee hour.  This is a tradition in the Orthodox church because we are supposed to fast before we take the Eucharist.  Therefore, after church we are very hungry.   Coffee hour is a wonderful time to fellowship with one another.  If anyone in the Clarksville area reads this –our name is The Protection Of The Virgin Mary Orthodox church.  Please come visit us.

Now on to the real 101 lessons of life.  There has been murky water at Jim’s workplace for about six weeks now.  Jim at first told me that he would be laid off for a couple of Fridays and that the entire plant would be shut down Labor Day week.  Everyone would draw unemployment.  The recession was finally affecting his plant.  I know all during the winter and spring of 2008–I didn’t believe there was a real recession.  Jim was making $1000.00 a week before taxes and other fees were taken out.  When Vera was preparing for her mission trip– one Orthodox church said they couldn’t help because so many of their people were out of work.  I just had a hard time believing that.  It took me until about the middle of July to believe that there might actually be a recession going on.  Now I’m convinced. 

Now we are not the kind of people who live off the fatted cow and have nothing  left to live on in hard times.  We have faithfully tithed our income and shared our surplus with many.  We have also saved at least 10% of our income monthly.  So we are prepared for the lean times.  Still, I know we could have done even better.  My regret is that we didn’t save at least 15%.  I just have to keep learning through life 101.  I don’t think I’ve graduated to life 102 yet by any means.

However, I just might learn enough skills to graduate to life 102 in the ensuing months.  Last week, Jim’s plant announced that they would be laying off 90 people.  There are a little over 300 employees at Jim’s plant.  They will lay off one out of every four on the floor. Likewise, 40 office workers will be layed off.  Tomorrow is the big day when Jim will learn his fate.  He thinks he will keep his job because he has worked at this plant for 15 years.  I’m never very upbeat and positive intially.  I have to do a great deal of self talk first.  I have the idea that they will keep those that they don’t have to pay as much.  We will find out tomorrow.  Everyone will get to work through the end of August.  The plant is having the unemployment agency come to the plant to register everyone who lost their jobs.  This is so no one loses a paycheck for a couple of weeks after they are laid off.

If Jim loses his job–our biggest loss will be the medical insurance.  My cancer medicine costs $330.00 a month without insurance.  Jim is also taking many expensive medications.  Yesterday, I went to our health department to ask about their services.  They have a full time doctor and many nurse practitioners.  They see people who don’t have insurance on a sliding scale.  I’m very thankful for their service to our community.  I hope we don’t have to use their services but I was just doing my homework to be ready.

I teach piano part time.  I don’t have enough students to help out with finances if I have an unemployed husband.  I suspect that I will have to put my substitute teacher hat on once again.  And, I’m thankful that I am qualified to do that whenever I want too.  Because I’ve never had any bad reports in my record –all I have to do is have  a TB skin test and be finerprinted once again.  I could be back to teaching in days, if necessary.

I’m trying to stay thankful for all the mercies the Lord has showed our family.  No matter what happens tomorrow–we are still wealthy globally speaking.  It would do us all good to think global on a regular basis.  The Lord will take care of our family.  I suspect we will do a great deal of stretching.  Just maybe we  will stretch enough to graduate from life 101.

God bless each of you!




2 responses

25 08 2008

My Dear Friend, Nicole3

Being without income can be one of the worst fears to try not to face. I believe that our Lord is faithful and his provisions are made long before we know that we need them.

You have been so wise to put back 10%. Most families live from paycheck to paycheck and this is devastating….

Sharing your joy in the parish growth…

As far as graduatiing to Life 102, don’t think I have enough credits as yet…just a lot of hard knocks of which I am still trying sense…I finally have to let it rest in my Lord’s Hands…and He is Good…


27 08 2008

Hello Shadowlands,
Jim made the cut but we still continue to try to be faithful to save. Our prayers are with the 90 families who are no longer employed.

I agree with you –that even getting to life 102 is a challenge. I know that I’m not there by any means.

It is so good to hear from you!

Your friend,

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